Artist offers ray of sunshine in troubling times

This small ray of sunshine might just be the image we all need in these challenging times…

Work by Sarah Duffield
Work by Sarah Duffield

Shoreham-based artist Sarah Duffield has come up with a bright and cheerful work which captures the warmth and welcome of Horsham.

Commissioned by Horsham Museum & Art Gallery, Sarah’s image depicts a selection of the striking buildings of Horsham town.

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The brand-new design will feature on a range of items such as tea towels, mugs and prints which will be available to buy in the museum shop later in the year.

“Last year I had an exhibition at the museum as part of the Horsham district year of culture, and I did four pieces for that,” Sarah says. “And then I was commissioned to do a picture of the town.

“Not being from Horsham, I knew it as a visitor really, so I wandered around and looked at lots of buildings. I had been given a big list. I did a lot a sketches and took lots of photos, and this is what came out of it.

“There was a lot of editing to do of the buildings, a lot of cutting down the numbers. It is not a huge piece, and if you start getting too small, you won’t be able to see them.

“The Causeway is very well known obviously, but I didn’t want it to be all about the Causeway.

“I tried really hard to pick out buildings from all different parts of the town and maybe some of the buildings that are not necessarily noticed so much.

“When I walk around, I don’t tend to notice the buildings so much. I am predominantly a landscape artist. But when I walked around, I was really consciously looking.

“And when I was wandering around Horsham, what really struck me was the huge variety of buildings and also the colours and also the feeling that they were… well, not all higgledy-piggledy, but just perhaps that some of the buildings sprang up in surprising places.

“A lot of it is kind of jumbled, and you just don’t know what you are going to see around the next corner.

“As far as the colours, they did ask for a colourful piece, and if you see some of my work, you will know that colours are my thing.

“They wanted it colourful, but I do tend to use colour anyway in a way to express emotion.

“I really felt that Horsham was a warm and vibrant place.

“You can imagine that there is a great community spirit up there.

“I just wanted to get this warmth across and also having the lights on in the windows to show that the buildings are lived in. If you make the windows grey or blue, it can just look a bit cold.

“I wanted to bring the windows to life. Yellow and orange are colours that we would associate with warmth, with going home and with being safe.”

With the coronavirus outbreak rampant, things are on hold a little as to what will happen with the piece at the moment.

“But I have gifted them the licence to use the image in ways that they will think of it.

“They are going to use the colour image, I believe, on tea towels and prints that people can buy.

“I think they will use some or all of it on china tea cups, and there will be prints and postcards.

“But there is also a black and white image which is just the drawing.

“It was done in pen and wash, and it was all drawn out first.

“There was some discussion that that could be used for colouring in for children.

“I am not entirely sure what they are going to do yet because I haven’t had the conversation, but I have said they can use them as they see fit.

“I trust them implicitly to use them well to promote the museum.”

She sees it as a contribution: “It is giving back a little bit. The museum have really helped me. I have had exhibitions there.”

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